BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants legislators to expand the ambit of net neutrality and make it mandatory for app developers to develop their apps for BlackBerry in addition to iOS and Android. It is a known fact that BlackBerry and Windows Phone have relatively far fewer apps when compared to Android and iOS phones.
BlackBerry CEO calls it discrimination
According to Chen, this is “discriminatory,” and he wants net neutrality to include “application neutrality.” Put in simple words, the CEO wants lawmakers to require that if a company makes an app for iOS and Android, then it will have to create a version for BlackBerry as well.
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An official blog published a letter from Chen that was sent to various members of Congress in which the CEO noted that all wireless broadband customers should be capable of using any lawful applications and content they select. Also Chen wants applications / content providers to stop discrimination based on the customer’s mobile operating system.
Chen said in the blog post, “Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet.”
Chen takes a nab at Apple, Netflix
Chen, who took the helm of BlackBerry in 2013, said the Canadian firm made its Messenger app available for iPhone users even though Apple has not yet responded by opening its own messaging services to other platforms. The BlackBerry CEO also targeted Netflix in his letter, saying that, even though the streaming company has supported net neutrality, it has discriminated against BlackBerry by not opening its streaming movie service to it.
According to Chen, developers are making iOS- and Android-centric apps, and in this way, they are creating a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem in which iPhone and Android users get their hands on far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems. Net neutrality advocates have raised their voice against such discriminatory practices by different carriers at different levels, says Chen.
If some law of this sort is passed, then BlackBerry will be the major beneficiary, but the companies that will be bound to make apps for the less popular platforms will surely not be happy. Net neutrality is a very important issue with a focus on free speech, but getting it into reality seems to be impossible anytime soon.